The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s 2,000 foot sex offender residency restriction doesn’t violate offenders’ due process rights. The law bars offenders whose victims are children from living within 2,000 feet of schools and daycares.
The AP story can be found here www.kcrg.com/news/local/12253946.html
It’s just one more among many reasons the Legislature won’t touch the ‘get tough’ law with a 10-foot poll next year, even though prosecutors and law enforcement groups say it’s a bad statute that does little to keep kids safe. They contend it actually makes the already difficult job of tracking offenders tougher.
The restriction has pushed some offenders to quit reporting there they live or to lie about where they’re sleeping. That makes it harder to find them and know what they’re up to.
And although the law limits where they can live, it doesn’t limit where offenders can go. It’s useless in the vast majority of child sex offenses, when a victim knows their molester because they’re family member or a family friend. Nobody says they have to stay 2,000 feet away from their victims.
Instead, prosecutors want “safe zones” that would bar offenders from going to places where kids hang out. Lawmakers have twiddled their thumbs.
Don’t expect the Legislature to do anything in 2008. Lawmakers are scared to death to mess with the current law for fear someone will brand them soft on crime. Being tough on crime means passing bad laws that look good in campaign brochures. They’ve already got that covered.
I’m not for coddling sex offenders, and I don’t really care if they have to huddle in tents on the outskirts of town. But when prosecutors and police say it’s a bad law, I believe them. The Legislature should show some guts and back them up.